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Princeton Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Egyptian Miracles of Mary (PEMM) project

Miracles of Mary Story Themes

By PEMM Staff

PEMM was launched to collect information about the themes of the Ethiopian Miracles of Mary stories.

The Marian miracle stories have a variety of themes. 

  1. Which themes are most common (i.e., appear in the most stories)? 
  2. Which themes most commonly appear together in a tale (e.g., women and healing)?
  3. When and where is the earliest attestation of each theme?
  4. Are some themes more popular in one region than another?
  5. Do manuscripts have overarching themes (i.e., do some manuscripts have stories mostly on healing, or kingship?)

Answers to some of these questions remain to be found.

However, PEMM has tagged the Marian miracle stories as containing the following subjects and themes:

  • Supernatural beings: Angels & Demons; Satan & Sin; 
  • Environment: Animals & the Natural World; Four Elements (Water, Fire, Air, or Earth); Buildings & Architecture;
  • Creativity: Art & Icons; Writing & Books
  • Disability: Disability & Healing; Disease & Healing; Healing & Bodily Fluids; Fertility & Pregnancy; Age & Elderly
  • Justice: Theft & Loss; Conflict & Justice; Prisons & Imprisonment
  • Witchcraft: Magic & Sorcerers
  • Power: Kings & Emperors; Kings & Princes; Weapons & War;
  • Sexuality: Lust & Temptation; Sex & Adultery
  • Family: Marriage & Husbands; Mothers & Sons; Siblings & Children; Widows & Daughters
  • Monasticism: Monks & Monasteries; Priests & Clerics; Priests & Nuns
  • Travelling: Voyage & Safety; Pilgrims & Pilgrimages; Ships & Sailing
  • Jews, Muslims, and Pagans: Interfaith Relations; Religious Others; Conversion & Christianity
  • Religious practices: Prayer & Piety; Blasphemy & Sacrilege; Blessings & Anointing; Feasts & Holy Days; Rituals & Ceremonial Objects
  • Wealth and Poverty: Charity & the Poor; Poverty & the Poor; Wealth & Riches
  • Saints: Saints & Martyrs; Saints & Monasteries
  • Ethiopia: Solomonic dynasty narrative; Ethiopian social commentary
  • Death & Heaven; Death & Resurrection
  • Patrons & Churches 
  • Professions & Occupational Hazards
  • Early Christian writing;
  • Signs & Wonders
  • Vision, Dreams, & Apparitions
pricenton ethiopian eritrean & egyptian miracles of marry project

The Princeton Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Egyptian Miracles of Mary (PEMM) project is a comprehensive resource for the 1,000+ miracle stories written about and the 2,500+ images painted of the Virgin Mary in these African countries, and preserved in Geʿez between 1300 and the present.

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